Leader Blues

Monday, June 25, 2007

TOP STORY >>Building schools in Cabot

IN SHORT: District spends $6.6 million on Stagecoach Elementary, which opens in fall.

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Stagecoach Elementary, Cabot’s eighth and newest elementary school, should be open for the start of the new school year Aug. 20 barring any problems or delays, but work on rebuilding burned down Cabot Junior High North won’t begin until that time or later.

Brickwork on the 83,313-square-foot, $6.6 million elementary school located near Campground and Stagecoach roads is all but complete. While workers finish laying the bricks at the entrance of the school, work continues indoors as the start of school is less than two months away.

“The masonry will be finished this week,” Jim Dalton, assistant superintendent, said Thursday.
The painting inside is 75 percent complete and the ceiling grid is half way done. Workers have also begun laying floor coverings. The exterior doors and hardware, windows and kitchen equipment have been installed and light fixtures are currently going up.

“The heating, ventilation, air condition and cooling (HVAC) was turned on in portions of the building Thursday,” Dalton said, “and dirt work for parking, drives, curbs and guttering began this week.”

The district plans to widen Campground Road and install a third east bound lane, Dalton said Tuesday night during the school board meeting. The district will provide the materials for the project and Lonoke County will provide the equipment. Plans are also in the works to grade a hill for better visibility.

Outgoing Superintendent Dr. Frank Holman had addressed traffic concerns for Stagecoach Elementary earlier in the year, saying a left turn lane might need to be added on Campground from the top of the hill west of the Stagecoach intersection.
“If cars are stopped on Campground to turn left onto Stagecoach, it could be dangerous with traffic coming from the west and topping that hill,” he said.

Adequate stacking areas for parents during student drop-off and pick-up were built into the school’s design plan to prevent cars from having to be lined up on Stagecoach Road.

The Cabot district finalized the rezoned elementary school attendance boundaries in May to allow for the opening of Stagecoach Elementary. With the zones now in effect, Stagecoach’s attendance boundaries include Campground Road and the Pinewood and Au-tumnwood subdivision, residents behind The Cabot Patch daycare, S. Stagecoach Road up to its intersection with Honeysuckle Lane, County Road 302 at Dogwood Lane, Burgess Lane at Hwy. 321 and Mt. Tabor Road at Sandhill Road, and stops at the Cabot district boundary, butting up against the Carlisle, Des Arc and Lonoke school districts.

Junior High North
Although the district anticipated opening bids July 1 to rebuild Junior High North, Dalton said two more months are needed to complete the blueprint drawings before the project can go out for bid, putting the start of construction at late August or early September.

“The footprint – layout of the building – was recently completed and approved, but the detailed drawings for structural, electrical, HVAC, etc., take several months for the engineers to complete,” Dalton said, “and they couldn’t begin until the building layout had been approved.”

The total projected cost to rebuild CJHN, which was lost to a fire last August, is $18.5 million, of which the Cabot district must provide about $3 million.

In April, the state’s Facilities Division approved the district’s catastrophic funding request in the amount of $5.2 million. They received $10 million in January from Great American Insurance Company of Ohio, the district’s insurance company.

The new CJHN will be built back on the hill with facilities capable of holding 1,200 students. The new campus, which is estimated to take between 18 and 24 months to build, will be over 120,000 square feet, adding an additional 19,000 square feet more to the school than the previous one had.

It will also be rebuilt in a different design utilizing current park-ing and the vocational, multi-purpose and physical education buildings that were left intact after the Aug. 10 fire that destroyed the rest of the campus.

It will meet all new building codes and standards; it will have a sprinkler system. It will have 850 square-foot classrooms, meet the indoor air quality standards and have a larger area for the cafeteria.

The seventh- through ninth-grade students displaced from the eight-year old, $9 million Junior High North will attend classes at the Cabot High School campus this year. They were in 30 trailers, which were set up between the tennis courts and the CJHN gym last year; the trailers cost the district $40,000 a month.

The ninth-graders will attend classes at the end of the north wing of the high school building, which is closest to the current JHN principal’s complex.

The seventh- and eight-graders will attend classes in K, S, the old high school media center and 15 portable classrooms.
The district is trying to remove half of the portables through subleasing and has other school districts lined up to take some of the double portable buildings that house classrooms.

“It looks like Nettleton (Public Schools in Jonesboro) will be taking four, maybe six, portables of eight to 12 classrooms,” Dalton said.

The multiplex building, a five section building of eight rooms that was used as a bank of bathrooms and costs $10,000 a month, is being considered by the Bergman School District in Boone County.